Thursday, February 5, 2009

Being a SAHM 101

This is my living room at about 4:30 pm yesterday. You might think, as a SAHM, that I would feel obligated to tidy up before my husband came home.  You'd be wrong.  If husbands come home to a clean, peaceful, well-maintained house each evening, they might get the impression that taking care of babies all day is a piece of cake.  And who wants that?  Ditto on your own personal appearance.  Even if I get myself prettied up to go to, oh say, Gymboree class, I make sure to take it down a notch before he gets home. My goal is to look as close to having been in a train wreck as possible without scaring the children.  Again, this goes to how stressful and tiring it all is. Husbands might get suspicious that being the stay-at-home parent is an easy gig if we look all fresh and perky at the end of the day.   

Similarly, when he asks how your day was, NEVER, EVER say it was great.  Saying "fine" every once in a while is acceptable just so you don't come across as a total downer. But the usual answer should be something like, "Well, Susie hit Alice over the head with that really heavy book about farm animals your mom gave them and then I had to call Poison Control because I thought Alice ingested some Ajax you left on the counter and there was a bit of a meltdown at music class ... (very heavy sigh) but enough about us, how was your day?"  Say the last part brightly, like you actually care how his day was.  Eventually he'll stop asking about yours, which means you're on the right track.  (Also, note how I cleverly wove in that he and his mother were partially to blame for the bad day but didn't dwell on it in a nagging manner.)

And if he dares ask "What did you do today?"  I suggest listing every single solitary thing you did starting from the moment you woke up until the second he walked in the door (but on the off chance you did anything fun, leave that part out). Because the implication of that question is that YOU DON'T DO MUCH.  The first few days of my SAHM career my husband would come home and ask that question  in what I thought was an accusatory manner and I would mumble something like, "Ummm, took care of twins?"  Day 4 that shit stopped. When he walked in that night I took out my handwritten note and began reading:

  • 6:01 am -- Woke up to crying baby after only two hours of total sleep 
  • 6:02 am -- Fed crying baby, second baby started crying
  • 6:03 am -- Tried to make another bottle while first baby went ballistic that her feeding had ceased; abandoned mission
  • 6:04 am -- Put bouncy seats next to each other and tried to feed babies at same time by alternating same bottle from one to the other
  • 6:05 am -- Remembered pediatrician said feeding them from same bottle was a no-no
  • 6:06 am -- Remembered pediatrician doesn't have twins and continued as is
  • 6:07 am - Burped baby #1, felt warm spit-up land inside my shirt and start sliding down my back

Well, you get the picture. I didn't even get to 6:10 am or changing a dirty diaper before he got the point.

And by all means, do not ever insinuate you got to see friends / had a nice lunch / watched Oprah or did anything else that could be construed as enjoyable. It will take weeks to undo the damage!  If he thinks you have any downtime whatsoever he might start expecting you to do laundry and empty the dishwasher and such.  Or God forbid, cook a meal.

Don't worry if you're already in the bad habit of trying to make your husband's life more pleasant. Just very gradually stop cooking and cleaning and looking well-kempt. Phase all of this out over the course of two months and he'll never have seen it coming. It's a scientific fact that men can't remember past about 60 days anyway so he won't have any recollection of his former life.

Really. I should teach a course...  (Oh, and if he ever suggests that he stays home and you work, you've failed miserably by making it look entirely too appealing and may need guidance beyond what I'm capable of providing. Unless of course, him staying home and you going back to work is your goal.  Which also has its merits as you would actually get to shower every day. Let's discuss that technique in other post, shall we?)


  1. I have never been a SAHM but I thought this was hilarious. Thank you so much for the giggle today.

    I loved "Don't worry if you are already in the bad habit of trying to make your husband's life more pleasant." Because I am a firm believer that men have no memory beyond 60 days!

  2. OMG you're HILARIOUS & SPOT ON!

    rachel at

  3. What's the fun part about being a mom of twins?

  4. Very funny! Except, we can tell those floors are clean under all of the toys. Not a dust bunny in sight!

  5. This entry just made me spit out my diet coke I was laughing so hard! You are totally right!

  6. Oh so true of my life. If i do cook (something from the Trader Joe's freezer section) I try to look as put out as possible while still insisting that I do it. The martyr card works well for the next night when you can let him INSIST on take-out. Also, to anonymous, who said there was a fun part about being a mom of twins?

  7. Found you from Stephanie at Baby on Bored. Laughing my ass off! You've got a new fan.

  8. You are so ON with this post. When I was on leave last winter my husband expected that the house would be clean and dinner would be waiting when he got home. That way of thinking was quickly corrected when I went back to work and he took ONE WHOLE WEEK off to stay home with her. He was lucky if he could get her dressed in the morning let alone anything else done.
    Now he knows that if dinner is done he should shut up and eat it when he gets home since I also had to work plus get the kids up and off to school, then picked up and back home plus make dinner and deal with the cats and dog.
    Too bad your husband doesn't know about your blog, cause I am not far away and would love to meet you and your babies. Have to think of a cover story that I can remember if that ever happened. ;)

  9. SHHHHHH! You are giving away all my secrets!

    Don't forget, when he calls during the day to check in, act frantic and cut the call short, regardless of whether or not you have time to talk.

  10. Got all that covered. I also enjoy inundating my husband with frantic texts about all the crazy things the boys do. Or sometimes I call and when I'm leaving a message I hang up mid sentence or say "Oh my god, I gotta go!" and then drop the phone on the chair so all he hears are muffled shouts and general noise. My husband is the overly paranoid sort. I play right into his base fears... it's evil, but it's entertaining for me and keeps him "in his place".

  11. Wait. That's not the "clean" picture? Because that's what my living room looks like after I tidy up. Despite my constant declarations about the trials of the SAHM, my husband still thinks I'm on some sort of vacation. Clearly, I need to take one of your courses.

  12. I was sent to this blog by a friend who must think I need help. You're awesome, I bow to your expertise and will make changes accordingly. A shower and a blow dry is now off of my to-do list for the day!

  13. First time visiting your blog and I love it! By the way, the picture of your supposed messy house shows instead a house filled with happy children, and your place is CLEAN - yes, there are toys everywhere, but the floors are clean, and you have great taste in furniture. I have 2 boys - 3 and a half and 1 years old - and that's hard. I can't imagine how hard twins must be!

  14. By the way, you're totally on my blogroll. :)

  15. Ha ha!! I love it!! I thought for a second there I was reading a biography about myself.